An oil and gas bonanza in South Texas supported nearly 48,000 jobs last year while creating overnight boom towns cashing in on a $25 billion economic windfall from the liquid-rich Eagle Ford shale, according to a university study released Wednesday.
An energy rush that began with the first drilling in 2008 mushroomed into nearly 1,700 wells last year. Oil production is up more than six-fold since 2010 to more than 28 million barrels, while gas production has doubled.
The ladle-shaped shale formation stretches from the western Texas-Mexico border and hooks all the way toward Louisiana.
Blanketing the lucrative play are once-struggling rural counties that must now spend million-dollar tax rolls on infrastructure, development and education before the boom goes bust.